This was a top of the table clash between Welling and Slough, who both came into the game with long unbeaten streaks, and off the back of winning their respective FA Cup matches - and will look forward to meeting fellow National League South teams in the next round.
On a warm October day in the sunshine it was Welling who got off to the perfect start as Jack Jebb whipped in a dangerous free kick which Adam Coombes got to first, planting a firm header past Jack Turner.
Slough didn’t let the early goal get to them though and started playing their usual passing football. However, Nassim L’Ghoul very quickly showed he was the Welling dangerman as on many occasions in the first half used his lightning speed and technical control to hurt the Rebels on the counter attack.
It took L’Ghoul just 13 minutes to give Slough a real taste of what was to come as he easily beat Sean Fraser and Guy Hollis before whipping in a cross but Mark Nisbet was alert to it to clear the ball away.
On the counter attack Manny Williams had Slough’s first real chance as the ball was laid off to him on the edge of the area, but just as he took his shot the ball took a nasty bobble off a cut up pitch. The shot cleared the goal when really it should have been troubling the keeper.
On 19 minutes during a Welling attack, Jebb went to ground with no one near him leaving everyone confused to what had happened. Unfortunately, Jebb had suffered a serious injury and needed to be stretchered off the pitch.
When the play restarted it was once again L’Ghoul causing Slough problems, leaving Fraser in a head spin. The Welling winger, who was previously part of the Nike academy, found himself through on goal but pulled his shot wide when everyone thought he would score.
Slough grew in confidence as the game went on and where awarded a dangerous free kick which Dobson took, and his effort went out for a corner after being blocked by the wall.
A few moments later Dobson would get another chance but he sliced his shot which went high and wide and out of the ground, hitting one of the cars in the Nissan Dealership across the road.
Whilst L’Ghoul was causing problems down Slough right hand side they also had to keep a close eye on Kiernan on their left, who late in the first half broke free causing Turner to rush out to block his shot.
Half time arrived with Welling a goal up and a chance for the Slough joint managers to contemplate how to stop the Welling threat and get back in the game.
There were no changes from either side at the start of the second period, but Slough very quickly found a way back into the match. A long throw by Hollis was dealt with at first but the ball came back out to the centre-back, who crossed deep finding Dobson in space – and the winger volleyed the ball back into the opposite corner. The Slough fans, who had been in fine voice all day duly celebrated by wishing Dobson a happy birthday.
Confidence was now high for Slough and Dobson was starting to find space to put in some dangerous crosses - whilst at the other end the Rebels were stronger defensively than in the first half.
Slough were awarded a free kick centrally about 25 yards out which Dobson took, a Welling defender got a touch on it in the wall and the ball spun narrowly wide of the goal with Dan Wilks beaten.
The two Slough strikers, Manny Williams and Matty Stevens were now starting to get more touches of the ball and turning their defenders but a few last-ditch tackles prevented either man getting clean shots away. The number of Slough corners was building though and going through their repertoire Slough were getting chances as Sam Togwell headed over and Mark Nisbet missed with a volley at the back post.
L’Ghoul was still causing problems but Slough had started getting closer to him a prevented any fast counter attacks. The winger had to pull out all the tricks he knew to get free but occasionally the Slough defence were happy to commit a foul to stop him, with Lee Togwell receiving a yellow card for doing so.
Midway though the second half Welling had a great chance as Turner had to beat away a free kick with the rebound falling to a Wings player, but he couldn’t find space to turn in a shot and the Rebels were able to eventually clear their lines.
Into the last ten minutes of the game it was Slough who looked most likely to find a winning goal, with headers from Sam Togwell and substitute Ben Harris narrowly going wide of the post. At this point in the game the Slough fans were in fine voice, with a 15-minute long chant of “Bakes and Unders’ Rebel army” and the only time it stopped was when these two headed efforts went so close to going in.
On 82 minutes the chanting stopped momentarily again as Welling were awarded a penalty. George Wells adjudged to have fouled Kiernan. It looked as if contact started outside the box and carried on into the area, but referee Ryan Atkin pointed to the spot and Coombes stepped up to send Turner the wrong way with his kick.
At this point in the game, with Slough being on top for much of the second half it felt like a sucker punch but Welling breathed a sigh of relief having caused the Rebels so many problems in the first half.
Slough would have two final chances as Wells struck a long shot which was well saved and Sam Togwell got another headed chance which once again went agonisingly close but just wide of the post.
Welling moved into second spot whilst the Rebels dropped two places to seventh, but will know they pushed one of the best teams in the division all the way.
Welling United Line up
Dan Wilks, Jordan Gibbons, Charles Banya, Arnaud Mendy (Julien Anau), Josh Hill, Thierry Audel, Brendan Kiernan, Jack Jebb (David Ijaha), Bradley Goldberg (Danny Mills), Adam Coombes, Nassim L’Ghoul. Unused substitutes: Matthew Paterson, Yannis Ambroisine.